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Two of Scout's personal characteristics are her hot temper and her constant fight to remain a tomboy and avoid becoming a lady. Early in the story she gets into a fight with Walter Cunningham Jr., "rubbing his nose in the dirt" of the schoolyard. She manages to restrain herself when it comes to fighting Cecil Jacobs, knowing "that if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down." But she falls back to her old ways at Christmas when she attacks Cousin Francis, splitting "my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth." Later, on the night that the lynch mob confronts Atticus at the jail, Scout defends her brother when one of the men try to manhandle Jem.
I kicked the man swiftly. Barefooted, I was surprised to see him fall back in real pain. I intended to kick his shin, but aimed too high. (Chapter 15)
As for her tomboyishness, Scout prefers to wear overalls instead of dresses, much to the consternation of Aunt Alexandra (and Miss Stephanie). She doesn't play with dolls; instead, she prefers the company of Jem and Dill and their boyish activities. She attempts to make her aunt happy by doing her best to emulate the supposed "ladies" of the missionary circle. But Scout is not impressed with the "devout" women's backbiting and hypocrisy, and she still feels
... more at home in my father's world... Ladies seemed to live in faint horror of men, seemed unwilling to approve wholeheartedly of them. But I liked them... They weren't--
"Hypocrites..." (Chapter 24)
Nevertheless, Scout recognizes the true ladylike qualities of Aunt Alexandra and Miss Maudie, and she is impressed enough to follow in their footsteps after Atticus tells them about Tom's death. Alexandra and Maudie return to serving their guests as if nothing had happened, and Scout takes a big step toward becoming a lady. "There was no doubt about it, I must soon enter this world..."
After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I. (Chapter 24)
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